This is the grand finale in Howlin T-Wolf’s series of posts ranking the 2013-14 roster. We hope you have enjoyed the ride. As always, you can follow Howlin T-Wolf’s writers on Twitter, Tom (@Tom_NBA), Jonah (@HowlinTwolf) and Derek (@DerekJamesNBA). Brace yourself: The season is coming.
Fear not, for after me will come a mighty one, bearing the same name, yet different. He will not look like a warrior, and he will encounter the pangs of growth. His surname will imply weakness. The ruling houses of Rambis and Kahn will not trust his great strength. Yet he will overthrow the ruling houses, and on his shoulders, the Nation of Wolves will rest.
-Kevin Garnett, 2007.
Before Ricardo Rubio I Vives and Nikolai Pekerov, the Nation of Wolves — and its center, the Target — knew a king more powerful than any that had come before. His scowl was feared by his foes. His passion was so strong, it brought him to tears. But rather than making him weak, his tears shone with the intensity of a warrior who truly hated to lose. His name was Kevin Garnett.
But although Garnett himself was strong, his army was weak. So, presenting the Nation of Wolves with the message above, he gave up his rule over the Nation of Wolves and joined forces with two other kings in a faraway land, leaving the Nation of Wolves bereft of a leader and in anarchy. The lumbering king who replaced Kevin Garnett, Sir Al of Jefferson, possessed only a portion of Garnett’s ability to attack and none of his ability to defend the kingdom. Leaderless, the Nation of Wolves wandered in darkness, pondering what Kevin Garnett’s cryptic message could have meant. Word spread to the Nation of Kevin Garnett’s ultimate victory less than a year after his departure. His subjects celebrated, but it was a subdued, bittersweet celebration.
All hope seemed lost when a young man found his way to the Nation of Wolves from a land near the sea. He was hefty of build, and he possessed an uncanny ability to pick himself back up, to rebound. The Nation of Wolves remembered Garnett’s words (“Bearing the same name, yet different,” “He will not look like a warrior”) and their hopes were raised. Perhaps this was the one.
Years passed. The ruling parties of Kahn and Rambis were overthrown at the hands of Kevin Love. He fought in the same position as Kevin Garnett, powering forward, but he did so differently, fulfilling the words of the prophecy “He will be the same, yet different.” The Nation of Wolves began to believe: This was the man. He would lead them. When the House of Rambis was replaced by the aging but venerable House of Adelman, Love became the centerpiece of the Nation.
And so it came to pass that Kevin Love was the successor and heir to the throne of Kevin Garnett. He was neither physically imposing nor blessed with a surname of power. Rather, he was known for his versatility on the attack and his resilience, his continual prowess at rebounding in a crowd of enemies. At times, his defensive tactics were questionable, but the Nation of Wolves was willing to forgive these oversights and chalk them up to inexperience, knowing that there would be a Day of Reckoning. The Nation of Wolves knew that one day, Kevin Love would have to prove himself both as an attacking conqueror and a ruler capable of defending his own keep.
This is where we find ourselves now, friends. We have reached the Day of Reckoning, a crossroads as a Nation of Wolves. Either we move forward and, behind Kevin Love, we break through the seemingly impenetrable wall into the Land of the Playoffs, or we fail. The quest has never seemed more tenuous, but neither has it ever seemed this possible. Kevin Love has his strongest army to date. He will attack with Pekerov on his right and Ricardo Rubio on his left, as well as archers Martin and Budinger from Nation of Houston. He will face strong opposition, but he knows the final words of the prophecy: “On his shoulders, the Nation of Wolves will rest.”
Indeed, we will go as far as Kevin Love can carry us. On his shoulders, we rest.
Once again, we thank you for putting up with our ridiculous rantings here on Howlin’ T-Wolf and for contributing to #TwolfRank on Twitter. We can’t wait to share this upcoming season with you.